By Cordell Shannon
Lancaster County Spring Cleaning
Cleaning yard waste allows us to recycle and reuse products
Spring and Summer are on the rise. If you are looking to clean up your yard, now is the time to gather materials for recycling. Items such as:
- Tree trimmings
- Shrubbery clippings
Along with plant debris are a handful of items that are able to be collected. Yard clippings should not be placed in your regular trash. There are a few items that you may gather from your yard that need to stay out of the collection in order to fulfill the requirements of recycling. Items such as trash, stones, and plastic materials should always stay out because these items will not biodegrade and will hurt the quality of the yard waste.
Why is Spring Cleaning Important?
The purpose of Spring Cleaning is to collect the waste from your yard and turn those items into usable products. The purpose of recycling yard waste is because when yard waste is collected, these items begin to compost. This gives all of the nutrients back to the plants, improves the quality of soil, and helps save water. However, if yard waste begins to break down in an environment where there is no oxygen, methane begins to occur. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, methane is 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
When it comes to the amount of space that we have at landfills, yard waste is one of the top items that contributes to millions of pounds of materials stored at these locations. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates that nearly 13.5 percent of municipal solid waste comes from yard trimmings. If we were to get everyone to recycle items from their yard, roughly 33 million pounds of materials would be kept out of landfills each year.
An important guideline to remember when collecting yard waste for recycling is to always use biodegradable brown paper bags. If you were to use plastic bags to store the items in, over time the plastic will begin to decompose into the yard waste which limits the chance of it ever being used again. Many communities will also not accept the waste unless all directions are followed correctly. These brown bags can be picked up for free at locations such as City Hall, Streets Department, and the Recycling Center, all located in Lancaster County.
Other important guidelines to consider in order to correctly recycle these items is to always fill the brown bags to the marked line. This allows the City to make the most out of the bags and to also encourage residents to fill as much as possible. Another important thing to remember is to keep everything dry. If an item or the bag were to be wet, the process of decomposition will begin to occur which will force the bag to rip apart and cause a mess during collection. For more information on guidelines and information on Lancaster County Yard Waste Disposal can be found at www.cityoflancasterpa.com/resident/yard-waste.
Why is Recycling Important?
Recycling is a way of turning materials into new products that would otherwise be thrown in the trash. Recycling plays a huge role on society in America. You can go anywhere around the US from restaurants, shopping centers, and even Universities that have recycling bins around the area so people can recycle the items. Pretty much anything can be recycled. Items such as:
are things that can be collected together and used as recycling. Most times there will be separate bins that will be labeled with what should be placed inside. Most times, paper and plastic items go together, clothing will have it’s own bin and then any other item will be places separately.
Recycling not only saves the environment, but it also saves energy, water, and space at landfills. As stated before, roughly 33 million pounds of materials would be kept out of landfills each year just from yard waste.
The chart below shows on average how many of these items are discarded each year by Americans. According to USI, the US population discards each year 16,000,000,000 diapers, 1,600,000,000 pens, 2,000,000,000 razor blades, and 220,000,000 car tires.
Recycling also plays a key role in creating jobs for people in America. The Recycling Economic Information Project did a report that estimated nearly 757,000 jobs were created because of recycling. This in turn brought in roughly $36.6 billion dollars in wages. This very crucial in today’s society where finding a job is difficult for many. If there are ways to create jobs for Americans, the easiest way to do so is by recycling.
Andrew Wheeler was appointed as the fifteenth Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency on July 5, 2018. Wheeler was known for dedicating his career to advancing environmental policies. his career started under the George W. Bush Administration while working as a special assistant in Environmental Protection Agency’s Pollution prevention and Toxic’s office.
The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority is known for managing the waste. In their mission statement, they describe their organization as: “Protecting the safety, health, and welfare of the people we serve and the surrounding environment.” The photo below is a picture of the Lancaster County Solid Waste plant where all of the waste is taken to and discarded of.
Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures. (2019, March 14). Retrieved April 23, 2019, from https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling/advancing-sustainable-materials-management-0
EPA’s Administrator. (2019, February 28). Retrieved May 5, 2019, from https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epas-administrator
Get to Know LCSWMA, Who We Are. (2019). Retrieved May 5, 2019, from https://www.lcswma.org/our-philosophy/
(n.d.). Retrieved April 24, 2019, from http://www.cityoflancasterpa.com/resident/yard-waste